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Biodegradable waste management and Bioregion development opportunities were discussed in Vidzeme region, Latvia

30 August 2023
As part of the We Make Transition! project, the Vidzeme Planning Region, in cooperation with the local municipality Cēsis, organized two focus group interviews with various stakeholders. The first focus group discussed solutions for biodegradable waste management. The second focused on bioregion development opportunities in the Gauja National Park territory in Vidzeme.
Technical details


Both focus group discussion had around 11 participants – from local municipality, research and educational institutions, NGOs, and individuals.

The discussion on biodegradable waste management mentioned several aspects that affect the management of waste in Cēsis city. The need for waste sorting was highlighted. In connection with improper storage of biodegradable waste, the threat of various hygiene and sanitary issues was also brought up, emphasizing that solving one issue should not create another problem. Participants highlighted the need for a convenient waste sorting system and proper infrastructure in the city. Additional educational and informing activities for children and adults on sustainable waste management and legal regulation issues were highlighted as essential to support biodegradable waste management.

The main advice to strengthen biodegradable waste management was dedicated to the local municipality. It was advised to experiment with experiences and new methods, develop a plan, and dedicate funding to organize waste management infrastructure – from people to recycling. A local inhabitant emphasized – “The waste will not be sorted if people are not offered a convenient waste sorting system. Waste sorting containers are mainly available to people living in city apartment buildings. However, they are not available in places further away from the city, so it should be ensured that sorting containers are also provided in county centers.

The municipality was advised to develop active discussions about society’s needs, be open, review the binding regulations if necessary, and look for cooperation opportunities between different sectors.

During the discussion on the development opportunities of the bioregion, participants shared their main associations: sustainability, future, self-sufficiency, resources, health, good living environment, smart society, organic farming, and tourism opportunities.

The EU Action Plan for the Development of Organic Production mentions the use of a bioregion as a tool to promote organic farming and develop short food chains. A bioregion is defined as a geographic area where farmers, civil society, tourism operators, associations, state and municipal authorities collaborate to sustainably manage local resources based on organic farming principles and practices. The objective of creating a bioregion is to enhance the economic and socio-cultural potential of the region and activate citizens for green transition.

The most active discussion part was about necessary support to promote the creation of a bioregion. It was predicted that currently the region can be faced many challenges related to creating a bioregion, as this is the first attempt to implement such initiative. It is necessary to create significant support mechanisms for entrepreneurs, farmers, and other stakeholders to promote their motivation and ability to adapt to organic production and other processes. Many fields see the term “organic” as something expensive and/or unprofitable. The need for political support was also mentioned.

Main advice to strengthen the development of bioregion, was the need to improve communication methods with citizens and organizations. It was also recommended that the functions related to the creation of the bioregion should be delegated to relevant organizations, but with local government funding.

The local transition arena in Cēsis will focus on bioregion development. The first workshop will take place on 25 October 2023 within the framework of the international forum “Mission: Creation of a Bioregion in the Gauja National Park”. The purpose of the forum is to introduce interested parties to the concept and operation of bioregions in Europe and the world, achieve a shared understanding of transition challenges, and co-create a vision for the future of the development of the bioregion in the Gauja National Park. Within the framework of the forum, a memorandum of goodwill will be signed between the participating municipalities and civil society organizations on the establishment of the first bioregion in the Baltic States.